Police issue warning as thieves target heating oil


- Credit: Archant

Police are offering advice to those who use or sell heating oil after reports that thefts have already started to occur in Cambridgeshire.

Though the number of oil thefts reported often increases during autumn and winter months, officers say there are basic measures that can be put in to place by households and businesses to protect their fuel.

Inspector Jon Hiron said: “Theft of heating oil has been an issue for rural areas for some time, but it can be a particular problem at this time of year as homeowners get their supplies for the winter months.

“Heating oil is an expensive outlay, yet many take few or no steps to secure their tank. A few simple security improvements can deter criminals and prevent them from stealing your much-needed oil.

“Many thefts occur shortly after the oil delivery, so be extra vigilant around this time.”

Anyone with any concerns or information should call police 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111. If a crime is in progress, call 999.

• Check oil levels frequently to see if anyone has tampered with your supply.

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• Consider an electronic oil level gauge which sets off an alarm in your house if the oil level drops below a quarter full.

• Fit high quality padlocks or lockable fuel cap to all fuel tanks. A closed shackle padlock will make access using bolt croppers very difficult.

• Consider perimeter security for the whole tank, such as a metal cage or fencing. Even a prickly hedge can help to deter thieves. Remember to allow access for the oil tanker driver.

• Control switches should be located in a secure building and turned off when the tank is not in use.

• If you’re installing, or repositioning an oil tank or considering repositioning, it should ideally be situated within sight of nearby occupied buildings.